A show of Contemporary Artists from South India in London & more

A heady mix of cinema and the visual arts
Artist Charan Sharma's 31x11 feet mural, housed at 24 Karat, a new multiplex in North Mumbai, is probably the largest the city boasts of. The large canvases, which took three months to complete, are mounted on the front wall of the theatre's atrium. The one painted by Shivax Chavda and G R Santosh that adorns the walls of the Tata Theatre at the National Centre for the Performing Arts (NCPA) held the distinction thus far.

Bollywood's eternal love saga, Mughal-e-Azam, is its theme. Charan Sharma watched the film six times "to get into the mood, to understand the characters and to bring them alive" with his artistic touch and his trademark motifs. The panel at the bottom has the war sequence; the middle one shows romantic the lead stars of the epic movie, Dilip Kumar and Madhubala, whereas the upper half of the mural captures the dramatic entombment of Anarkali, the lovelorn lady. The artist has incorporated actual chains to add dramatic effect to the heroine's tragic imprisonment in the movie - which was symbolic of the societal pressures on their love.

Born in 1950 at Nathadwara, Rajashtan, Charan Sharma completed M.A. in Drawing and Painting from University of Udaipur in 1974 and later studied Graphics at JJ School of Arts, Mumbai. Padan Sacheti, the brain behind the multiplex, chose Sharma to work on the mural since he favored the artist's flair for capturing Rajasthan's flavor. This intriguing piece of work is a heady mix of cinema and the visual arts.

'The Paintings of India' series
Benoy K. Behl has been following the Indian art trail for several years. The outcome of his relentless research is The Paintings of India, a 26-film series tracing Indian art from the pre-historic times to the present ones. Behl has captured some of the finest works of Buddhist art of the Ajanta Caves in all their natural luminosity. The serial is currently being shown on Doordarshan, India's national channel.

The film screened on June 15 traced the great-shared tradition of classic painting across South Asia, which has its roots in the Ajanta paintings. This shared art tradition has a deep philosophic content. The series encompasses art traditions across countries such as Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Thailand, Indonesia, China and Japan.

During his research for one of the episodes, Behl discovered a fifth century painting with influences of Indian art deep down in Sigiriya, Sri Lanka. He also found the extreme influence of Ajanta paintings in South Asian art. The filmmaker is confident that the films would help in making Indian art more understandable to the common man.

A show of Contemporary Artists of South India in London
Kuhu's Art Gallery, London hosted an exhibition of the paintings & sculptures of Contemporary Artists from South India between June 20 and 23. The show titled - Romance with Images and Forms - was arranged by Chennai's Prakrit Art Gallery. The idea was to showcase the talent in the South for recognition abroad.

The participating artists comprised Achuthan Kudallur, K. M. Adimoolam, P. Gopinath, C. Dakshinamoorthy, K.V. Haridasan, Alphonso Doss, S. Kanniappan, K. Muralidharan, Thotta Tharani, T. Vaikuntam, M. Senathipathi, Laxma Goud, J.M.S. Mani, R. Sundararaju, Anjani Reddy and K. C. Murukeson. Each of them contributed two works to the exhibition. Some of these were also previewed in Chennai.

The folk element dominates the paintings of Senathipathi and Sundararaju whereas Vaikuntam is known for his depiction of the people of the Telengana region of Andhra Pradesh. Laxma Goud (watercolor), J.M.S. Mani (oil colors) and Anjani Reddy depict village life in their paintings. Meandering lanes and by-lanes encircle the triangles, circles and other shapes in the lush green abstract of Achuthan Kudallur. Canvases of Adimoolam and Gopinath are inspired by nature to go along with the landscapes by Dakshinamoorthy and Murukeson.

The two sculptors, Dakshinamoorthy and Kannippan, were also represented at the show.

Monsoon show by student-artists at Nehru Centre
Come the rains, and it's time for a series of monsoon shows in Mumbai. The prominent one among these is Chatak-2003, monsoon show by student-artists at Nehru Centre. On display are sculptures and paintings on display till June 29.

An extremely popular art exhibition, it consists of two exhibitions during the monsoon. Students, young artists and art lovers eagerly await these shows, as much as Chatak - the legendary bird who eagerly waits for the first drop of rain with an open beak to quench its thirst. The shows symbolize new artists waiting eagerly for art lovers to appreciate their work. The show is in two parts. The first one displays the works of art students and the other of young professional artists. This annual event is eagerly awaited and widely appreciated.

The Nehru Centre Art Gallery is dedicated to the promotion of young talent and provides a platform for them to exhibit their work along with that of eminent artists. The Gallery has featured a wide range of well-known painters and sculptors to students of art colleges. There have been several noteworthy exhibitions of paintings, sculptures, graphics, calligraphy, ceramics, textile-paintings and photography.

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